Urban Cinefile
"I can hardly wait - I never get tired of Australia. "  -Keanu Reeves on filming Down Under
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday, October 23, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

BLACK AND WHITE (US)

SYNOPSIS:
Documentary filmmaker Sam Donager (Brooke Shields) is following around a group of privileged white kids who immerse themselves in black hip hop culture. Among their icons is Rich Bower (Oli "Power" Grant), who is trying to leave behind a criminal past and establish himself as a successful hip hop performer. Meanwhile, Bower’s childhood friend Dean, a talented college basketball player, is approached by a stranger named Mark Clear (Ben Stiller) to throw a game. When Dean tells his girlfriend (Claudia Schiffer) of his intentions, he sets off a chain of events that will have dramatic consequences.

"With Sydney’s topical Olympic 2000 experiences, it’s timely to reflect on Jesse Owens’ achievements at the 1936 Berlin games. Owens has nothing to do with this film’s story, and everything to do with its central theme. The triumph of this extraordinary black athlete, in front of Hitler and his propaganda machine, didn’t prevent the racism of World War II, nor obliterate the ongoing bigotry suffered by African-Americans. But it was a harbinger of a developing social phenomenon. A generation growing up with posters of Michael Jordan, Will Smith and Lauryn Hill adorning its collective bedroom walls is bound to view the world through an entirely new spectroscope. Black and White is an ironic title. Director Toback presents, a raw, edgy, kaleidoscopic montage of characters and situations that are amalgams of polarities. In the centre are the privileged white kids intoxicated by black hip hop culture. On the fringes are characters whose lives are full of seeming contradictions. The large, ensemble cast does not allow for full portraits, but Ben Stiller’s detective with a shady past is well fleshed out; his motivations are gradually revealed and Stiller is superbly intense, vacillating between rejected lover and agent provocateur. Toback is a provoker too: from the al fresco multi-racial ménage a trios that opens the film, to a comi-dramatic highlight in which Robert Downey, Jr, extemporising brilliantly with affected sexual ambiguity, comes on to a brooding Mike Tyson (who is constantly intriguing just being himself). Piquancy substitutes for a flowing storyline, and energy for character depth. This is not a film to drag us beneath the surface and immerse us in emotional involvement; but the surface itself is replete with reflections of cultural and social interaction that are never less than fascinating to observe."
Brad Green

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

BLACK AND WHITE (MA)
(US)

CAST: Brooke Shields, Power, Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jnr, Claudia Schiffer, Bijou Phillips, Jared Lato and Mike Tyson.

DIRECTOR: James Toback

PRODUCER: Daniel Bigel, Mike Mailer, Ron Rotholz

SCRIPT: James Toback

CINEMATOGRAPHER: David M. Ferrara

EDITOR: Myron I. Kirstein

MUSIC SUPERVISOR: Power

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Anne Ross

RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Col TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 28, 2000 in Melbourne & Adelaide; November 16, 2000 in Sydney & Brisbane.







© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017